In our first year, Inkers and Thinkers was a sold out event. It was absolutely momentous, and a large part of that success should be credited to Ben Juers, who designed our poster:
Posted in bars, cafes, art hubs and bookstores all over Adelaide, Juers’ piece was an eye-catcher. Cult comic characters from Australia and beyond were crammed into every corner, and a fun game was betting people they couldn’t identify every ‘toon. (Many came close, but none claimed the metaphorical cigar).
In this quick Q & A, the affable Mr Juers discusses his working process and artistic influences:
InT: How did you come up with the idea for the poster?
B: The idea for the poster was to satirise the ‘future’ theme of the conference. I offered the organisers two designs to choose from. The one that didn’t make the cut had a comic book cover layout with imagery lifted from 50s and 60s space stuff like The Jetsons and Jetta. It was goofier and would’ve been more in my ‘style,’ though copying other people’s stuff for the final design was interesting. It makes you pay attention to other cartoonists’ quirks that you might otherwise pass over. As a kid, I learnt to draw by copying from a “He-Man: Masters of the Universe” colouring book.
InT: How long did the poster take to complete?
B: The poster took about a month to complete, partly because of other freelance obligations at the time. The pencilling was the longest part of the process – it involved lot of rearranging and dismantling using tracing paper. It took a while to get it to a point where it wasn’t too crowded. The inking took about a day, a bit longer for the colouring and text captions. I didn’t really think about the colours until later, which is pretty unprofessional.
InT: How would you describe your art?
B: A couple of people have called my work ‘old-timey.’ That makes sense – most of my favourite cartoonists are from the first half of the twentieth century. Nostalgia’s kind of overdone in comics right now, so I’m trying not to let the old-timey look become a schtick. Ultimately, my goal is to be the Preston Sturges of comics, alcoholism included.
More of Ben’s great work can be found at benjuers.tumblr.com – we highly recommend you check it out!